Valerie Fletcher has been Executive Director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), an international educational, consulting and design non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts founded in 1978. The organizational mission is to advance the role of design in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities through excellence in design. Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She currently oversees projects ranging from consultation and design services to public and private entities in cities and towns, higher education, cultural facilities and multi-family housing in the US and globally. IHCD’s holistic approach includes consideration of built, information, communication and service design. She established the IHCD User/Expert Lab that offers flexible evaluation of places, products, technology and services by people with lived experience of a wide range of functional limitations.
Fletcher’s career has been divided between design and public mental health and she is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system. She was Principal of Fletcher Studio Design from 1978-1985.
Fletcher has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Boston Architectural College and is Councilor and US representative to the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD).
The Helen Hamlyn Research Centre at the Royal College of Art in London named her Inclusive Design Champion 2021.
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